Organizers say the effort in Sioux City to assemble more than 100,000 meals for impoverished Central Americans went very well. Students and volunteers from the Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools took part in the Wednesday program called, “Then Feed Just One.”
Coordinator Mary Jane Mousel says the meals will be shipped to a village in Honduras that also receives aid from Gehlen Catholic School in Le Mars. “We have a cup of soy and a scoop of vegetables, a scoop of chicken broth and a cup of rice,” Mousel says. “It’s pretty cool because Gahlen has a partnership with that village, so we know the food actually gets to them. It’s not caught up in the black market.”
Mousel says the Catholic schools have sent more than 600,000 meals to Honduras since the annual project was launched six years ago. “The kids feel good about that,” Mousel says. “They like knowing that this food is going to people. One year, we had Heelan students in Honduras when the packages arrived. They saw the boxes with BHCS on it and they were pretty excited because they knew they had help.”
Students in grades 5 through 12 helped to package the 100,000-plus meals and even some Heelan alumni returned to help. Bryce Sweeney, now a student at the University of Northern Iowa, came back to his former high school the last two years on Spring Break to lend a hand. “It’s always good to help give back to people that need help,” Sweeney says. “I was just sitting around at home so I might as well help out for a day. I’m taping the boxes and putting them on the pallet outside, then, we’ll put them on the trailer.”
Sweeney says he first packed meals as an 8th grader at Heelan. With so many volunteers, it took about eight hours to package the thousands of meals and prep them for their long journey south.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)